Bishop brims with outdoor activities. Situated at the north end of the Owens Valley, with close access to some of the Sierra’s most dramatic high country, this “small town with a big backyard” is a blue-skied utopia for skiers, hikers, climbers, mountain bikers, and anglers. Magnificent peaks—including 14,505-foot/4,421-meter Mount Whitney, the highest summit in the contiguous U.S.—offer countless secret places to discover, such as alpine stunner Lake Sabrina, about a half-hour drive southwest of Bishop. (Birders take note: Lake Sabrina is a good place to look for snow quail (technically white-tailed ptarmigan).
When winter snows retreat, Bishop is a common jumping off point for backpacking trips into the John Muir and Ansel Adams Wilderness Areas (Inyo National Forest wilderness permits required for some areas; permits, along with tips and trail maps, are available at the White Mountain Ranger Station on N. Main Street). Other great places to explore include the dramatic White Mountains—site of the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest—to the east and the Volcanic Tablelands to the north.
There’s stuff to see in town too. Stop by Erick Schat’s Bakkery for just-baked bread and treats. And more than 20 colourful murals adorn buildings downtown, showcasing the history of Inyo County. Before you leave, stock up on elk, buffalo, and other unusual jerkies at Mahogany Smoked Meats.
Snow-covered peaks in winter, gushing waterfalls in spring, wildflower meadows and glistening lakes in summer, vibrant colours in fall—this is a land of dramatic and wild beauty. World-class mountain resorts circling turquoise-blue Lake Tahoe, and at Mammoth Lakes cater to all, with scenic ski trails in winter and trails and vistas in summer.
Yosemite Valley…is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and gold and wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.” --photographer Ansel Adams
Yosemite National Park, a World Heritage Site, is here, roughly 3½ hours east of San Francisco. Whether you hike a mountain, ski the steeps, or lounge in a hot tub beneath a canopy of stars, you’ll find your perfect getaway.
Think of a river, and chances are you’ve got your own daydream. Maybe you want to float on inner tubes, or maybe your style is to careen through raucous rapids in an eight-person inflatable raft....
With a pine-and-peak alpine setting and a relaxed and friendly ambiance, this appealing event in Bear Valley, roughly halfway between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite, includes performances by outstanding musical artists. Launched in 1967, the festival features a full symphony orchestra, international soloists, and legendary entertainers at pretty outdoor venues. Classical works, opera, Broadway show tunes, and opening weekend acts of contemporary and country music are offered, with past guest artists ranging from the Mamas and the Papas, to Big Bad Voodoo Daddies.
Known for its plunging waterfalls, giant sequoia trees, sheer granite cliffs, and more, you could easily spend weeks exploring Yosemite...